How do you teach yoga on 9/11?

Welcome back to the blog!  After an unintended summer hiatus, I hope to get back to a mix of pose pointers, reflections and general yoga-nerd-ness.

First, a question for the yoga hive-mind: how should we, as teachers, teach on 9/11 this year?  (In case you’re living under a rock, Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the beginning of what can safely be called a national nightmare, thousands dead, two wars and two recessions later)  Obviously, you do- I can’t think of a better way to work with an event like this than on my mat, with my “yoga tribe”.  But I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week about the nitty-gritty- I have my usual battery of classes on Sunday, and am torn about what to say/play/teach.  I feel like to ignore it feels dishonest, but I’m not sure that to make it the at center of the practice is appropriate.

There are certainly 9/11 yoga events.  In Boston, there will be a benefit “karma yoga day”, featuring many prominent local teachers (FB info here).  A few blocks from ground zero, Kula mainstay and friend Kevin Courtney is leading a special class, starting with a silent meditation and moving into asana.   And I’m sure there are many I’m missing.

But for those of us for whom Sunday yoga is a mainstay, even “yoga church”, what do you want?  Teachers, how are you going to walk that line?  Students, what do you want from your teachers on 9/11?

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2 Responses to How do you teach yoga on 9/11?

  1. Ross Knights says:

    Hesitant though I am to “plan” a yoga class, on 9/11 or any other day, I think the occasion offers the opportunity to remind us of our interconnectedness, our humanity, and our yogic values.

    I recall reports (possibly documented–though I’m working from memory here) in the weeks and months following 9/11 of individuals experiencing a fundamental shift in values, like an epiphany or an awakening. Some were motivated to take up philanthropic or social-justice endeavors. Some reconnected with family or friends, ending old feuds or making amends and offering forgiveness for injuries or insults long past. Some changed careers altogether, in search of something more spiritually fulfilling, more compassionate–more yogic.

    For a time the United States even had the sympathy and support of the world at large, in a truly beautiful example of how electronic communication has brought people together, irrespective of geographical, national, economic, social and political divisions. (U.S. politicians quickly squandered the world’s goodwill when we invaded Iraq on what turned out to be false pretenses.)

    I can’t say it better than the late John Lennon:

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you will join us
    And the world will live as one.

  2. Alexandra says:

    I was in your 4:30 class today and I felt you handled it perfectly… Not too much to make it feel insincere but enough to keep us all present. Love your sunday classes, thanks for another great practice.

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